On the weekend of October 3-5, Bill Wolf ('03), Dean of the Chapel, and Milton Chamblee ('12), Graphic Designer, led a ministry to the local North East Correctional Complex through 230 dozen cookies. Thirty volunteers helped minister to 35 residents who received approval for the Kairos program.
These residents participated in worship services, received one-on-one ministering, and had access to unlimited cookies. In addition, every resident (over 1200) received one dozen cookies, each hand delivered to their cell. “It was quite an experience and they were all so grateful! Those cookies reminded them of so much more than the taste of chocolate. It reminded them of home, their moms, their wives, their choices…seeing the looks on their faces were worth the long days,” said Milt Chamblee.
The group listened to stories from some men who have been incarcerated for over 40 years, some who are serving multiple life sentences, and still others who are hoping to make parole in the next few years. At the end of the weekend, the group heard statements such as “You guys treated me like a free man” and “Coming from a life where your heart never gets touched, my heart was touched this weekend.”
Along with the cookies, Bill Wolf and the other volunteers led worship, teaching the residents the songs at the same time. “As they learned the songs, they would sing louder and louder with each play. We tried to repeat most of the songs multiple times. They caught on quickly and could have easily rivaled our student body with how loud they would sing.”
Milt stated the most impactful time spent at the Correctional Complex was when they played a recording of a previous visit of Jenna Weaver, daughter of Brent and Jerilyn Weaver, singing “All My Favorite People are Broken.” “As the recording played, everyone stopped. It was a room full of big, crying men, and an incredibly powerful moment. Lives are changing because of that song,” Milt said.
Bill and Milt thank the community for the prayers and donating home-baked cookies that impacted the residents at the North East Correctional Complex. One of the inmates, Jackie, said, “Man, I’ve been seeing cookies in my SLEEP!” Volunteers are told the inmates talk about the cookies for months after their visit.
Story by Keisha Settlemyre ('10,'15)
Photo by Gretchen Robards ('14)